For many of our students the transition is overwhelming as expectations begin to increase. The last thing we want to do is scare the students away from their love of learning. A teddy bear can make most 6 year-olds comfy at home, so we use one at school too!
Each year I buy a class Teddy bear. AC Moore usually has them pretty cheap. I tie a cute ribbon around his neck to dress him up a bit. This year I added this cute flower...maybe our teddy is a she this year! Each night a different child takes home Teddy and spends the evening playing with him. The student writes 1-3 sentences about what he/she does with Teddy and then draws and colors a picture in the journal. The next day the student bring Teddy and his journal back to share with the class. The kids love taking Teddy home and we love hearing about Teddy's adventures!
At the end of the year I pull a name of a student to take home Teddy to keep forever! This years winner looked like he won the lottery! We also share the stories that they wrote in the beginning of the year. This is a highlight of the year for me. The students can't believe that the page he/she wrote actually belonged to them! This is a nice way to see how far they have grown by the spring!
I hope your new "BIG" first graders get a chance to cuddle up with your new class Teddy!
Click on Teddy's picture to download the letter I use inside his journal.